In this paper, I read the Yiddish author David Bergelson’s statements at his secret trial through the lens of his own earlier fiction about Soviet justice, especially his novel Judgment. I examine Bergelson’s self-fashioning as a Jewish writer and how he uses his own Jewish background as a justification for his failures as a Soviet person. I offer some contextualization of Bergelson’s statements in light of other trials of other writers both before and after 1952, and compare his declaration of love for Yiddish with other, similar expressions. Bergelson does not merely defend himself, he creates a memory about his legacy for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalEast European Jewish affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 4 2018


  • David Bergelson
  • Yiddish
  • memory
  • trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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